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WEEKLY ABSTRACT OF GENERAL KNOWLEDGE.
NEW YORK, SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 1833.
H 1 STORY. We will consider still further the apocryphal Book of Enoch. We have said that it was immaterial whether Jude quoted Enoch's prophecy from this book, or from another. The forger of a work, to give it the greater air of authenticity, introduces among his own inventions such circumstances as are attributed at the time to the hero of his tale. Hence the circumstance that a quotation is made from a spurious work, is no evidence that that particular quotation is a forgery. Whatever might have been the light in which this Book of Enoch was regarded in the days of the Apostles, the prediction under consideration appears, by its having been quoted by Jude, to have been regarded as a genuine prophecy of Enoch. This Book contains a series of visions respecting the fallen angels, of their posterity the Giants that occasioned the Deluge, of the mysteries of heaven, of the place of the final judgment of men and angels, and of various parts of the universe seen by Enoch. The language is Ethiopic; the style a copy of Daniel. It was known in the Christian world till the eighth century, after which it appears to have sunk to oblivion. It was however preserved in Abyssinia, whence it was brought to England by Mr. Bruce, towards the close of the 18th century Neither the Jewish nor the Christian church ever considered this Book canonical; yet Tertullian, a Christian father of the second century, regarded it both inspired and genuine. The Abyssinian church, a kind of excresence of the Christian church, is the only body of prosessed Christians that have ever received it. It was evidently written by a Jew not resident in Palestine, at an early period of Herod's reign. . As it may be a gratification to such of our readers as have a taste for antique curiosities, we will give a specimen of the style &c. of this work. Alluding to the Son of Man, the writer says, “Before the sun and the signs were created, before the stars of heaven were formed, his name was invoked in the presence of the Lord of spirits. ...All who dwell on earth shall fall down and worship before him; shali bless and glorify him; and sing praises to him in the name of the Lord of spirits. . . . Therefore the Elect and the Concealed One eristed in his presence before the world was created and for ever.” Again, when speaking of the terrour which shall afflict the great rulers of the earth in the day of judgment, he expresses himself in the following manner:—“They shall be astonished, and humble their countenance, and trouble shall seize them, when they behold the Son of the Woman sitting upon the throne of his glory. Then shall the kings, the princes, and all who possess the earth, glorify him who has dominion over all things, him who was concealed: for, from the beginning, the Son of Man existed in secret, whom the Most i. preserved in the presence of his power, and revealed to the elect. . . . All the kings, the princes, the exalted, and those who rule over the earth, shall fall down on their faces before him, and shall worship him. They shall fix their hopes on this Son of Man, and shall pray to him, and petition him formercy.”—“He shall call to every power of the heavens, to all the holy above, and to the power of God. The Cherubim, the Seraphim, and the Ophanim, all the angels of power, and all the angels of the Lords, namel of the Elect one, and of the other Power, who upon o
were over their water on that day, shall raise their united voice.”
In the vi. Chap. of Genesis, 1, 2, 3 and 4 verses, we find the following very peculiar account. “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. There were Giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men, which were, of old, men of renown.” Josephus, in noticing these things, expresses himself in the following manner:— “Now this posterity of Seth continued to esteem God as the Lord of the universe, and to have an entire regard to virtue for seven generations; but in process of time they were perverted, and forsook the practices of their forefathers; and did neither pay those honours to God which were appointed them, nor had they any concern to do justice towards men; but for what degree of zeal they had formerly shown for virtue, they now showed by their actions a double degree of wickedness, whereby they made God to be their enemy. For many angels of God accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength; for the tradition is, that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call Giants. But Noah was very uneasy at what they did, and, being displeased at their conduct, persuaded them to change their dispositions and their actions for the better; but seeing they did not yield to him, but were slaves to their wicked pleasures, he was afraid they would kill him, together with his wife and children, and those they had married; so he departed out of that land.” We perceive by the foregoing, that Josephus followed the mythological notions of the heathen in the representation which he has given of this case. He supposes that the characters denominated in the Bible account the sons of God, were angels—celestial spirits—and that those spirits married mortals for wives, and had, as a consequence, a progeny of monsters denominated Giants. We hardly need remind those who are conversant with the Bible, that the appellation, sons of God, is applied to the pious, and that the appellation, the world, is ap plied to those who are not so. Keeping this in view, and recalling to mind the description given by Josephus of the posterity of Seth and that of Cain—the one pious, the other impious—it is no difficult matter to understand the passage as speaking of the descendants of those men. Surely, this is a far more rational interpretation than the other, and is attended with no difficulty at all. With regard to the Giants which are likewise mentioned, we have no account of their size. Very large men are some. times denominated Giants; and the Bible itself calls those by this appellation who were by no means so large as to be considered a race of beings different from our- selves. Instance the case of Goliath and others. We are not therefore under any necessity of understanding scripture as teaching the existence of demi-god Tityans and Briareans, merely because it says, “therc were Giants in
those days.” It does not follow that there were animated mountains, because there were Giants, the term Giant signifying nothing of the kind. ' The Bible mentions the mere fact, of the existence of Antediluvian Giants. For a description of them, we are left to other sources. Goliath, to whom we have already referred, was six cubits and a span (that is, ten feet and seven inches) in height. Orestes is said to have been about the same height. The Greek and Latin historians, together with Josephus, speak of enormous bones seen in their times. In support of the gigantic stature, Plutarch informs us that Sertorious opened the grave of Antaeus, in Africa, and sound a skeleton six cubits in length. There was one Gabbarus at Rome, in the reign of Claudius Caesar, whose height was nine feet and nine inches. In 1572, Delrio saw, at Rohan, a native of Piedmont upwards of nine feet high. In 1719, a human skeleton measuring nine feet and four inches was found at Stonehenge, near Salisbury, in England. Speaking of Giants, it would not be out of order to introduce in this place the heathen fable relative to those famous personages. It will be sound quite amusing, and, so far as relates to the frequent allusions to them in classical writings, instructive. We copy the article from Lempriere's Classical Dictionary. “Gig ANTEs, the sons of Coelus and Terra, who, according to Hesiod, sprung from the blood of the wound which Coelus received from his son Saturn; while Hyginus calls them sons of Tartarus and Terra. They are represented as men of uncommon stature, with strength proportioned to their gigantic size. Some of them, as Cottus, Briareus, and Gyges, had fifty heads and a hundred arms, and serpents instead of legs. They were of
a terrible aspect, their hair hung loose about their shoulders, and their beard was suffered to grow untouched. Pallene and its neighborhood was the place of their residence. The defeat of the Titans, with whom they are often ignorantly confounded, and to whom they were nearly related, incensed them against Jupiter, and they all conspired to dethrone him. The god was alarmed, and called all the deities to assist him against a powerful enemy, who made use of rocks, oaks, and burning woods for their weapons, and who had already heaped mount Ossa upon Pelion, to scale with more facility the walls of heaven. At the sight of such dreadful adversaries, the gods fled with the greatest consternation into Egypt, where they assumed the shape of different animals to screen themselves from their pursuers. Jupiter, however, remembered that they were not invincible, provided he called a mortal to his assistance; and by the advice of Pallas, he armed his son Hercules in his cause. With the aid of this celebrated hero, the giants were soon put to flight and defeated. Some were crushed to pieces under mountains or buried in the sea; and others were flayed alive, or beaten to death with clubs. (Vid. Enceladus, Aloides, Porphyrion, Typhon, Otus, Titanes, &c.) Homer tells us, that Tityus, when extended on the ground, covered nine acres; and that Polyphemus ate two of the companions of Ulysses at once, and walked along the shores of Sicily leaning on a staff which might have served for the mast of a ship." The Grecian heroes, during the Trojan war, and Turnus in Italy, attacked their enemies by throwing stones which four men of the succeeding ages would be unable to move.”
"He speaks of the Giants Otus and Ephialtes, who were nine cubits about, and thirty-six in height.
PREssed with the business as well as the Editorial concerns of this paper, we are under the necessity of consigning to the hands of our literary correspondent our mythological department. We do this the more willingly, because we know that in those hands it will not suffer, but will receive ample justice. To his guidance through the fairy realms of ancient story, we now commit our readers.
For the Family Magazine.
Mars, the god of war among the ancients, was, according
to Greek authors, the son of Jupiter and Juno; accor
ding to Ovid, the son of Juno alone. Ovid says, that Juno wished to become a mother without the assistance of the other sex, as an offset to Jupiter's having given birth to Minerva, who sprang, all armed, from his head: Flora showed her a flower, in the plains near Olenus, of impregnating virtues; and when Mars was born, Juno entrusted his education to the god Priapus, who instructed him in dancing and every manly exercise. Mars is generally represented in the attitude of a stern fierce warrior, standing in a war chariot, with his shield in one hand, and a poised javelin in the other. The steeds that draw his chariot are Flight and Terror. A wild looking woman, holding a flaming torch, stands at his side, and lights his terrible path over the prostrate and dying. This female is supposed to be Bellona, the goddess of war, who is called by some his wife, by others his sister. On his head he wears a helmet, and seems to thunder along in his course like a dread scourge to the nations. Sometimes Discord precedes his chariot in tattered garments, and Clamor and Anger follow behind. At other times, although not so frequently, he is depicted in a military dress and a long flowing beard; and sometimes is seen mounted formidably on horseback with a whip and spear united. The Greeks worshipped Mars, but never with the devotion and enthusiasm that distinguished the more warlike Romans. The Athenians gave him the surname of Ares (pronounced Arees) and in consequence of the trial of Mars for incest and murder by twelve gods who held their court on a hill in Athens, the place ever afterwards bore the name of Areopagus, or Mar's Hill. This was the spot distinguished by the sittings of the most august and upright court the world ever saw—the court of the Areopagita, before whom advocates were not permitted to use the graces of oratory, lest, by the undue influence of eloquence over the judges, the cause of justice might suffer. The Romans gave him the surname of Gravidus, on account of his stately and firm tread in marching.—of Mavors, Quirinus, and Salisubsulus, or “the Dancer;” the Sabines called him Enyalus; the Carthagenians, Mamers; and the Gauls, Camulus. His wife was Nerio, or Nerione, a word in the Sabian language signifying valor and strength—whence was derived the family name of that personification of lust and cruelty, Nero. Deriving from Greece the origin and character of the great war god, the Romans opened their bosoms to his worship, and drank so deeply into his bloody spirit, that the world soon owned them as its conquerers. In the early agés of Rome, a shield was found of an unusual shape, and it was pronounced by the oracle consulted on the occasion to have been dropped from heaven by Mars, and that he would ever favor the people that should preserve it, and would lead them to the conquest of the world. A priesthood was instituted to whom the care of the sacred shield was committed, and a number more were made similar to it, to render any attempt to steal it away unsuccessful. These priests were called Salii, from the verb salio, in allusion to their dances. Two temples were erected to his honor—one within the city, dedicated to Mars Quirinus, the keeper of the peace of the city, and the other outside the walls, near the gate, dedicated to Mars Gravidus, the defender against all outward enemies. The altars of this cruel deity were stained with the blood of the horse on account of its warlike spirit, of the wolf on account of its serocity, of magpies and vultures on account of their voracity. The dog, on account of watchfulness, was also sacred to Mars; as also the weed called dog's grass, which was supposed to spring up on fields of battle that had been drenched with the blood of the slain. The raven, on account of the diligence with which he marks the course of armies and watches for the dead, was reputed a bird of Mars. The mythological history of Mars does not exhibit a single lovely or inviting trait of character. Homer, in the Iliad, represents Jupiter as addressing him in the following words:— - “Of all the gods that tread the spangled skies, Thou most unjust, most hateful in our eyes!” Mars was tried for murder on the Areopagus, and cleared by the voices of six gods, his judges being equally divided for and against his acquittal. In the wars of Jupiter with the Titans, Mars was unfortuate: he was made a prisoner by Otus and Ephialetus, confined fisteen months, and only released through the intercession of Mercury. In the battle which ended in the overthrow of Troy, and laid its famous piles and battlements in the dust, Mars defended the Trojans, those
favorites of his paramour, Venus; but he was wounded by Diomedes, a Grecian chief, and hastily retreated to heaven to conceal his consusion, and complain to Jupiter that Minerva had directed the unerring weapon of Diomedes. He had many children, by Venus and others: he was the father of Tereus, concerning whose wife, Progne, and her sister, Philomela, the romantic tale is told of their having been changed into the swallow and the nightingale. It was however in Rome, that the war-god received his proudest honors. After the battle of Philippi, Augustus erected a magnificent temple, and dedicated it to Mars ultor, or the avenger. The priests of Mars were first appointed by Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome. It was their duty to guard the sacred shield, to form processions, and dance, with wild and fierce-toned music, through the streets on the approach of war. Before the consul lest the city to lead the Roman legions to battle, it was customary for him to enter the temple of Mars; and when he had finished his prayers, he would in a solemn manner slake the spear which was in the hand of the statue of the god, and exclaim with a loud voice—Mars, rigila / (God of war, watch over the city') At first, the number of the Salii or Priests of Mars was twelve—the three elders having the precedence: the first was called presul, the second, ratis, the third, magister. The number was afterwards increased, and virgins, dressed like the Salii, were seen in their precessions. The office of the Salii was honorable, and filled by patrician families. The first of March was their great annual festival, when, aster offering sacrifices, they danced through the streets to measured music, striking their sacred shields with rods. The entertainments or feasts of the Salii, on these occasions, were rich and sumptuous beyond comparison. Distinct from his choracter as the god of war, Mars was constituted in IRome the god of the gladiatorial games and of hunting. When war lowered in the horizon of the “Eternal city,” or invasion approached, the Salii with furious gestures would strike their shields, as is to invoke the aid of the tremendous deity of war, whose delight was to snuff the blood-tainted atmosphere of martial strife and mortal agony. F. LITE RATUR E. For the Family Magazine. LANGUAGE. Pictori AI. writing, as we have observed before, was the earliest written language. It comprehends the entire literature of all nations, who have any literature at all, at certain stages of their progress in improvement. The invasion of Mexico by the Spaniards found the Mexicans in this precise state. The landing of the invaders, the remarkable size and number of their ships, and a description of their arms, was communicated through the province to its capital, and thence to the remote frontiers, by means of pictorial writing. These graphic despatches were painted on pieces of cloth, woven from the bark of a tree, and exhibited considerable beauty and ingenuity. Here, no doubt, the expression of ideas by pictures was carried to its utmost possible persection. It has been ascertained beyond the possibility of doubt, that pictorial writing was the origin of the alphabetic characters. The immense alphabet of the Chinese, with its almost numberless array of characters, had no other origin. The characters have reached their prc. scnt form through almost as many variations and trans. migrations as the fabled Indian deities. The early shapes of the letters resembled lions, bears, tigers, fowls, and every sensible object. This is the origin of that formidable alphabet which has presented a barrier to the acquaintause of students with oriental literature higher than the wall of China. The plain, easily distinguished figure of a dog, found in the earlier Chinese books, now looks like any thing else—yet it means a dog still. Ancient literature in its upward leadings to the highest antiquity, may be compared to the course of two majestic streams—one of which is the Phoenician branch, and the other the Chinese or Indian.
We stand upon the banks of those old floods that have moaned along the foundations of long departed empires, and strive to break the misty cloud that hangs over their highest sources, and to mark the channels in which they have flowed down to the present times.
The Phoenician branch will include Hebrew and Egyptian literature, and the succeeding Grecian and Roman accumulations that have been succeeded by the German and European in general. The Indian branch will include the Chinese literature, the Burman, Hindoostanee, and East-Indian in general.
The sources of our information in regard to early Phoenician literature will be the remains of early writers, preserved in their own volumes, or in the extracts made from them by writers whose works are extant, while the works from which they quoted are now no more ; and the investigations of the savans and antiquarians of modern times. We shall use these sources promiscuously, without reference to their comparat-e antiquity—only
endeavoring to bring the course of literature to view in its natural progress in the order of developement.
Whatever may be said of the invasion of Egypt by Napoleon, one good resulted to the cause of letters. The key was found with which Champollion has since unlocked the treasures of learning so long secured in the mysterious and impenetrable hieroglyphics. While engaged in digging the foundations of an entrenchment near Rossetta in Egypt, the engineers found a remarkable stone, which has received the name of the “Rossetta stone,” on which there were three inscriptions—one in hieroglyphics, one in some unknown or obsolete char. acters, and the other in ancient Greek. This Greek inscription, which was of course readable, communicated, together with the chief matter of the inscription, the fact that the same meaning was contained in the other two inscriptions, as in the Greek. This, of course, was a translation of this particular hieroglyphic inscription. The stone fell into the hands of the English army, and was conveyed to England. Dr. Young, by its explanation, furnished some hints that aided the philosophic Champollion in his formation of the hieroplyphic alphabets.
kargement of the bounds of science has ever taken place :. being productive of substantial advantages to mankind. Our whale fisheries have already profited by our extended knowledge of the Arctic seas;–Captain Parry's plans for securing the health and comfort of his ship's companies, will afford the most valuable lessons to every succeeding commander who shall be engaged in exploring remote parts of the globe; and the volumes in which he and others have embodied the results of their labours, are among the most delightful and valuable contributions which in our times have been made to the literature of England. The Arctic regions abound in grand and sublime scenery. Few objects in nature can be more magnificent than the Falls of Wilberforce, in the Hood River; of which we subjoin a copy of the engraving from CAPTAIN Black's spirited drawing. They are thus described by Captain Franklin. “We pursued our voyage up the river, but the shoals and rapids in this part were so frequent, that we walked along the banks the whole day, and the crews laboured hard in carrying the canoes thus lightened over the shoals, or dragging them up the rapids; yet our journey in a
direct line was only about seven miles. In the evening we encamped at the lower end of a narrow chasm or rent in the rocks, through which the river flows for upwards of a mile. The walls of this chasm are upwards of two hundred feet high, quite perpendicular, and in some places only a few yards apart. The river throws itself into it over a rock, forming two magnificent and picturesque falls close to each other. The upper fall is about sixty feet high, and the lower one at least one hundred, but perhaps considerably more; for the narrowness of the chasm into which it fell prevented us from seeing its bottom, and we could merely discern the top of the spray far beneath our feet. The lower fall is divided into two, by an insulated column of rock which rises about forty feet above it. The whole descent of the river at this place probably exceeds two hundred and fifty feet. The rock is very fine sandstone. It has a smooth surface, and a light red colour. I have named these magnificent cascades “Wilberforce Falls,” as a tribute of my respect to that distinguished philanthropist and Christian. Messrs. Back and Hood took beautiful sketches of this majestic scene, which are combined in the annexed plate.”
Among ancient trees, there are few. I believe, at least in France, so worthy of attention as an oak which may be seen in the “Pays de Caur,” about a league from Yvetot, close to the church, and in the burial ground of Allonville. I had often heard it mentioned, but in a slight manner; and I am astonished, after having examined it, that so remarkable a tree should so long have remained so little known.
This oak has sessile leaves and acorns, on foot-stalks, and is therefore of the true naval species. Above the roots, it measures upwards of thirty-five English feet round, and at the height of a man, twenty-six feet. A little higher up it extends to a greater size, and at eight feet from the ground. enormous branches spring from the sides, and spread outwards, so that they cover with their shade a vast extent. The height of the tree does not answer to its girth : the trunk, from the roots to the summit, forms a complete cone; and the inside of this
cone is hollow throughout the whole of its height. Several openings, the largest of which is below, afford access to this cavity. All the central parts having been long destroyed, it is only by the outer layers of the alburnum, and by the bark, that this venerable tree is supported.; yet it is still full of vigour, adorned with abundance of leaves, and laden with acorns. Such is the Oak of Allonville, considered in its state of nature. The hand of man, however, has endeavoured to impress upon it a character still more interesting, by adding a religious feeling to the respect which its age naturally inspires. The lower part of its hollow trunk has been transformed into a chapel of six or seven feet in diameter, carefully wainscotted and paved, and an open, iron gate guards the humble sanctuary. Above, and close to the chapel, is a small chamber, containing a bed; and lead